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Reader Comments (6)

Posted: Oct 18th 2008 12:34PM Minofan said

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Well ; it is interesting, but overall I'd draw the same conclusion as you that RL religions in-game = more hate.

Regarding dev designed religions :
I think you overlooked the rather obvious difference in their dynamic compared to RL religions - that their gods generally give tangible rewards and are, in many case, tangible themselves !

MMO characters don't have 'faith', because they can say with 100% certainty that their gods are real.
They don't pray for miracles - they pray for +100 HPs, and know that is a 1.5s cast away.

So while the suggestions you make are characterful, they will simply be + & - power balances to the majority of players.
E.g. Will I choose the no-ganking religion so I can cast Healing Hands thrice a day, or the vegan religion so I can summon a Spirit Badger animal companion ?

I think the only way to introduce a 'faith' based religion is via fluff texts in an MMO with absolutely no divine magic... but since it would have no tangible effect in gameplay and be overlooked by most gamers, who would it appeal to beyond a tiny RPer niche ?

And how would those niche RPers express their religion to everyone else, short of broadcasting over public channels that they are NOT ganking someone for this reason, refusing to cook a particualr recipe for that reason etc. - not going to win any popularity contests that way.
I don't think the introduction of in-game equivalents to door-to-door preachers and crazed street-corner zealots is widely requested, and I don't think such folk would last long against the might of an Ignore list.

Posted: Oct 18th 2008 12:42PM arnavdesai said

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I am a minority in this country and am not a christian. If Christianity or any other religion for that matter is overtly present in the game, it would make me very very uncomfortable and I would probably quit playing it altogether.
How much ever people want to deny one cannot separate the real world completely from the virtual and just like in real life I am not overtly fond of people suddenly coming up to me on the road and telling me how to live my life, it would be uncomfortable for me to display religion in my virtual face. As usual this is just a personal opinion and not meant as hate posts.

Posted: Oct 18th 2008 12:55PM Ebylon said

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I think a major religion aspect to a game could only be properly thrown out if the game was heavy with roleplaying. I'm not talking about simply because called a Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Game. I'm talking about the digital equivalent of an enormous Dungeons and Dragons game.

Can you imagine having religious requirements in WoW? Imagine you were Jeremiah the Paladin who had taken Skinning as a gathering skill. Upon the slaying of a... boar (he's not Jewish, he can touch it), he kneels down and uses his Religious Rites, a 5 second prayer that gives the boar's soul a proper send off. Along comes Xlegolasx. He sees the Paladin sitting there next to a skinnable corpse, tromps up, slashsnipslash, walks off with some Heavy Leather to make l33t gear to pwn n00bz. (This is not social commentary on Hunters - I played one myself!). Jeremiah is left with a prayer that was wasted, because of the thirteen year-old that can barely sit still in church on Sundays with his parents, let alone give a religious character an in-game break.

Now, if you had a game that required far, far more than... point-click-stab, move to next mob, point-click-stab, move to boss, point-click-stab, get loot, hearth out, repeat... religion might work. You'd need an enormous bit of contribution on the developers' parts, though. You'd need in-game - but not necessarily seen - 'GM' types roaming around, watching after players now and then to see what they do. Sure, Jeremiah the Paladin in this ideal game wouldn't get some sort of reward for always following the tenets of his religion-du-jour, but if a GM given the task of watching a specific area noticed Jeremiah frequently keeping up with his religion, he could find it in himself to give him a 'God-granted' boon. Jeremiah finds a bauble in the gullet of the next wyvern he kills. Jeremiah is granted a surge of strength from his divine patron.

You could even have a system where these GMs note players indulging in maintaining their faith in-game and give them a tally. Next time another GM spots Jeremiah, after having killed a player of the opposite faction, performing a Last Rites type prayer (be it an in-game action, or simply a bit of roleplaying) he checks on Jeremiah's 'Faith Total'. The previous GM who had witnessed Jeremiah being in-character religion-wise had given him, say, 5 points in the Faith Total system. The new GM sees that, adds some of his own, and decides Jeremiah deserves a reward.

It would heavily rely on reliable - and extremely numerous - people designated as these invisible watchmen of roleplaying, but it could be done. It wouldn't even have to be strictly religion-based.

Until we can do something like that, religion -needs- to be in the background of a MMO, lest it be shat upon by the likes of Xlegolasx.

Posted: Oct 19th 2008 1:13AM cray said

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Guild Wars has really interesting religion as many of the spells and some attacks are based on different religious sects. They have five gods, each with varying sources. I think they have implemented fictional religions as good as you can get for a game.

I never want to play a game with real world religion, because it would just destroy the sacredness of religions.

Posted: Oct 19th 2008 3:36PM J Brad Hicks said

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What, no mention of the fact that one of the four big NPC factions in EVE Online is a theocracy? Or that one of the three "good-guy" factions in Warhammer Online is a militant theocracy, and one of their four character classes is overtly called a Witch Hunter, with a game mechanic centered around torturing people into confessing and then shooting them in the head?

One thing about Paragon City, in City of Heroes, has always been immersion-breaking for me: 20-some square miles of downtown Providence, Rhode Island, and not one single church. I don't ask that churches have content, be raidable, whatever, but does it make sense that they're completely missing? Granted, they're not the only thing missing (the same 20 square miles has exactly zero gas stations and exactly zero used car lots) but it left me wondering if they left out the churches because the artists were uncomfortable with them.

In Neocron 2, there was exactly one religious faction, a "bad guy" theocratic faction lead by the game world's most powerful psychics. The game mechanics penalized psychics for not allying with the Brotherhood of Crahn, because the church had the monopoly on the most powerful psi weapons. Good-guy player characters screamed bloody murder, even though they were warned at the startup screen that if they played a good-guy faction psi monk they would be a victim of prejudice and have a hard time finding equipment. That's because these aren't primarily simulations, they're primarily GAMES, and games should be fair.

Posted: Oct 26th 2008 7:25AM (Unverified) said

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LOL, "Real Life" religion as opposed to "fake" religion? That makes me chuckle from my very core. The "RL" religions are just as real as the in-game religions and vise versa, lets be honest here. ROTFLMAO

Most gamers I know are smart enough to avoid religion all together, so I don't think it would catch on much to have these in game except as plot devices.

I have to hear about that crap all the time I certainly don't want to hear it in my game sessions. (I too live in the ignorant "Christian Nation" that is the US) No fun at all.

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